Its not easy to describe what kind of film Phantom Thread is. Its possibly one of those heavily sub-texted, deeply intense and extravagantly beautiful tales of passion, obsession, egos and desires where the boundaries of the rights and wrongs blur easily based on how you are looking at it. Its the psychological slow burner which is little on action and heavy on drama, where the perversion of egos, quest for perfection and need for individual recognition are pitted against each other, doesn’t matter if you are the institution of luxury fashion, or a common girl waitress seeking dreams beyond your reach.
Daniel Day-Lewis delivers another sublimely restrained performance of a rather complex layered character and its not a surprise coming from him especially when he is collaborating with Paul Thomas Anderson yet again! The brilliant surprise though comes from Vicky Krieps who steals the thunder and is the lifeline of the film with a honest, vivacious and vibrantly alive performance in a setting that accentuates her every emotion. Its no easy feet to outshine everyone else when you are delivering against the final sardonic and yet melancholic performance of DDL and another sharp and crisp act by Lesley Manville, but Krieps does that unhinged and with an effervescent charm and sparkles with her brilliance all over!
Eventually though, Phantom Thread becomes what it does because of the beauty that PTA seams in to every frame just like the dresses of Woodcock house – a piece of art that you aspire to possess, a beautiful dream personified, and yet a materialistic extravaganza that borderlines on shallow intensities on the surface with undue expectations of greatness, but of much deeper reach. It is this obligation of expectation that may have earned Day-Lewis his final Academy nomination of the year, ahead of some other brilliant performances, may be its Academy’s gesture to bid farewell to his overpowering persona.
But this gripe aside, Phantom Thread is one of those films that still deserves to be relished. For its beauty, its complexity, its layered texture, and for Vicky Krieps. She will stay with you for long.